Jesus said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”John 10:10
This weekend’s lectionary passages include one of Jesus’ “I Am” sayings from the gospel of John. In this case, “I am the gate for the sheep.” He is speaking to his disciples during his ministry. He is trying to help them understand why others may not choose to follow God’s paths.
Then at the end of the passage, Jesus makes the statement above.
Note that this is not eternal life. No, this is life life. Here and now life. Fullness. Wholeness. Flourishing life.
Right now, many of us feel as though our life has been placed completely on hold. We miss our normal routines, our favorite hangouts, and the many little luxuries we often take for granted. Still others are grappling with the true challenges that have come with this pandemic: economic hardship, mental health issues, domestic violence problems, physical health issues, food and shelter insecurity. Just to name a few.
The truth is that God wants all of God’s children to have not only the resources they require, but also lives that are filled with joy and vibrant experiences.
Jesus’ words to us from this passage are a message of hope we need to hear: there is life to be had.
At the same time, there are three key things we need to remember:
First, we are doing this to fulfill God’s vision of the kingdom of heaven where the weakest are valued as much, if not more, than the strong. (This is quite a contradiction to Darwin.)
Second, even when we cannot have what we want, or worse, what we need, God is still ever-present. God is ready to provide even momentary respite to keep us going when times get tough. A smile. A giggle. A good cry. A few minutes of true rest.
Third, God has always provided life abundant not by riding in on the clouds of heaven, but through us. By the ways we serve one another. Provide for one another. Care for one another.
Even now, you can have life abundant – it just may not look the way you thought.
Blessings, Pastor Janie